Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, but widespread deforestation is a key driver of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, which have risen sharply in recent decades.

Solution and Impact

DFC financing is helping Forest First Colombia expand a sustainable forestry plantation in the Vichada Department, one of the country’s poorest regions. The project, which was originally developed in partnership with USAID Colombia, will help regenerate the land with at least 20 percent of the plantation dedicated to formal environmental conservation. Forest First uses a sustainable harvesting approach that is projected to sequester more than three million tons of carbon equivalent over 10 years.

While the Vichada region is composed mainly of degraded grasslands that are unsuitable for agriculture, the plantation will help regenerate the land with forests that act as carbon sinks. Progress in sequestering carbon is verified under the Verified Carbon Standard, a voluntary program for the certification of greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. Forest First also adheres to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and abides by all policies required for FSC certification.

The project also supports jobs in a region with little formal employment, where per capita GDP is less than half the national average. Forest First currently employs more than 100 full-time staff with many hires coming from the Vichada region.